Not sure what kind of business you would like to start? Why not tap into your background and do something that can help others? Wendy Uken from Tax Tribe explains how.Read More
If you have been out and about (and not living under a rock) the last 10 years, you know that social media is KING in terms of both marketing and consumption, so you may be wondering how to get in on the action and get a piece of that TRILLION+ dollar pie!
Look no more folks, for I have just the person to turn to with these questions, which is none other than the super smart and talented Felicia Wright!
Felicia is an Army vet (thank you, Felicia!), former 1st grade teacher, wife, mom, and marketing whiz who lives in Las Vegas and runs the successful Felicia Wright - The Social Media and Design Fixer.
I am so, so excited to have Felicia here today, so let's dive on into the nitty gritty:
Can you please give our readers a little glimpse of your background?
Yes, I am married with a 4 and a 2-year-old. I have 2 girls named Karina and Charlotte. I served in the United States Army Reserve for 6 years. During that time I went to school to be a teacher. Shortly after I left the Army I became a teacher. I taught for 4 years. Now I run my online business.
How did your time in the army and as a teacher lead you to start your own business?
What really changed was having my children. I had my first when I was still in the military. When I had her my priorities changed. My daughter needed me and I hated being away from her. This was compounded by the fact that I was nursing at the time. I would be gone for 8 to 10 hours and she would barely eat the whole time. It was heart-breaking. So I left after my time was up and began teaching.
Teaching afforded me more time with my baby and I loved it. In my second year, I had my second baby. Life changed again. Juggling 2 kids and teaching was difficult, but I made it work. Eventually, I started to realize that teaching was not a complete fit for me.
I knew that when my kids started school I would miss the big events. As a teacher, we can't miss certain days, and I got 1 day of personal leave each year. That meant that I would miss out on their first day of school, award ceremonies, and anything that popped up for them. This is when I decided to start my own business.
What kind of services does Felicia Wright (your business) offer? How did you decide on your niche?
I offer social media strategy, management, and ads. When starting I had to find something that I loved and could do from home. I always loved social media so I started researching what I could do with it. Social media management was the perfect fit for me. Plus I really enjoy it!
Can you give our readers any tips on how to start an online business?
Honestly its not an overnight thing. It takes lots of research and hard work, but it can be done. These are my top tips.
1. Find something you love and find a way to package it.
2. Make sure there is a demand for what you want to do.
3. Find the platforms you want to use and optimize those platforms with your information and what you do.
4. Start to offer your services to people.
5. Stay consistent with your outbound marketing efforts. (Keep the ball moving)
How do you go about getting new clients? Do you have a preferred way to market your services?
When I was working and running my business on the side I had to use social media to find clients. In my spare time, I started looking for job postings and offering my services. I did this in the morning, my lunch break, and after work. It was difficult at times, but I made it work. I also used my social media accounts to post my services and give value in my industry.
I like this route the best. Networking events were hard to get to at times. Most were during the day and finding babysitting could be difficult. So virtual was the best option for me.
What does a day in the life of a busy mompreneur like yourself look like?
Its a bit of a rollercoaster until my husband gets home. I have to manage the kids and my business at the same time. I wake up before my kids. So every weekday I get up at 5:00 am. So that gives me an hour before they get up. I really enjoy that quiet time. It sets up my day for success.
For the rest of the day, I have a google calendar. I schedule EVERYTHING. I have no choice. If I don't things slip through the cracks. I'm still working to improve in this area but it has helped out so much. I schedule time with my girls and work time. My husband also has access to my calendar. So he can see what I have going on. He also schedules things in the calendar so I know not to book anything during that time.
Finally, do you have a business-related memory that stands out as being your favorite?
I do! My girls are a mess! (in a good way)
I guess I am wearing off on them. Here is a conversation I had with my 4-year-old.
Karina "Mommy I really need your phone"
Me "Why do you need my phone so bad?"
Karina "Well I have a podcast at 1."
Karina "Yes, mommy!"
Me "Well can I get my phone back later"
Karina "No! I have to talk to my client"
Me - "........"
Alright, mamas (and papas, students, friends, et al): I am so so so SO excited about today's mom boss, as she runs a business that is unlike any other we have ever featured (which just goes to show that if you have a passion for something, you can/should run with it)!
Meet Celia Reeves: Celia is a Medical Coder and mama who has made a business out of studying the gibberish the doctor's office bills you for (Come to find out, it isn't just gibberish -- I'm just not as smart as Celia in terms of deciphering the lingo). Her website, Medical Coding Mama, is a GOLD MINE for all things coding and consulting, and I am so excited and honored to have her here today!
Celia, I love how unique both your story and website is! Can you tell us a little about your background?
I have been a Medical Coder since 2006. I fell in love the profession quite literally after my 1st husband died of cancer. Seeing the bills and stuff I didn't understand, I went to the doctor office and had them teach me what the papers said because it was all in medical codes and I didn't know how to read any of it at the time, it was like reading Greek! I also discovered I was a natural medical coder because I took to it like a duck to water. As my friends say, I eat, drink, sleep, breathe and bleed medical coding pretty much. I am now on speed dial for most of them when they need a medical question answered!
What inspired you to take your knowledge online?
After seeing so many people struggle to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the doctor's office, I realized all the stories i'd witnessed over the years of being in the back office as a medical coder/medical biller made for some great teaching material, and I share the patients stories and lessons they learned. I want to share all that knowledge with the world because I firmly believe an informed patient makes better health choices for themselves and their families. The stories I share come from my own life, the patients themselves, news stories i hear on the news that can spark a blog post and can be funny, sad, and sometimes a story can make you go oh yeah...why didn't I think of that?
Tell us a little about Medical Coding Mama and just what the site entails.
Medical Coding Mama started quite by accident actually. I had gotten a phone call from a logo place asking for money. My now ex husband( i had remarried a few years after becoming a young widow) and he had ordered a logo and had given my number as a call back. When I explained he was my ex husband, the place was furious. When I offered to pay the designer for his time and effort, even though that logo would never be used, the CEO was touched I had cared enough to make sure the designer was paid for their time and effort. The CEO asked me what I did for a living, I told him I was a Medical Coder...and a single parent.The CEO then asked if my friends had a nickname for me, I laughed and said yes, my friends affectionately called me the Medical Coding Mama because my two great loves were my daughter, whom I'm raising on my own, and medical coding. The CEO laughed and asked if I had ever wanted to do my own business. When I confessed I had thought about it, they offered to make a logo for me and charged only a small amount so I could afford it since I was a single parent. The logo you see on the website is what they came up with after asking what else I loved, besides my daughter and medical coding. It's a simple logo, kinda southwest looking and teal colored. They were just tickled when I raved about my simple logo. I love it. And two weeks after getting my adorable logo, I started the blog that became Medical Coding Mama.
What doors has MCM opened for you?
Definitely the community. I'm thrilled that people from all over the world are reading and learning from the stories I share. I honestly think and believe an educated and informed patient makes better choices. If I can help even one person, I know I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I'm not in it for the money. I love what I do for a living, and I truly love and enjoy educating the public on stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Many people honestly don't realize all that goes on behind the scenes after your doctor visit is over, or what we do with all that lovely paperwork you have to fill out. I like opening eyes on all that stuff. I have seen many a light bulb over the head moments from these patients when I explain what exactly goes on.
What advice would you give other mompreneurs trying to start their business/find their niche?
Three pieces of advice I share with you. 1. Write about what you love and are passionate about, it will come through loud and clear to people who read/buy your stuff. 2. Make a memorable name, something catchy and easily gets stuck in people's minds so you're easy to remember. 3. DO NOT compare yourself to other people. You are unique in your own right. Show your true colors, don't worry about competing with everyone else. Make your own light shine and people will easily find you when they search for your topic.
Can you walk us through a day in your shoes? What does your work/life balance look like?
My day is kinda spread into three parts. I get up early and do some medical coding and look over charts over a secure format to make sure all the documentation is there for insurance to pay medical claims. then mid-morning/afternoon then I do the single mom stuff like errands, do homework with my daughter( year round school), I do a lot of dinners in the crockpot or we do make your own salad nights or breakfast for dinner, do an outline on 5 or 6 blog posts and then flesh them out when I feel it's time to do a particular topic. After my child is in bed for the night, then I read a lot online for new medical breakthroughs at night before heading to bed (yes, I'm a medical geek and proud of it).
And for my favorite question: What is a Medical Coding Mama-related memory that sticks out in your mind as being the best?
It's three way tie on favorite memory...1. My former boss whom love dearly calling me up on my cell and screaming with laughter because she knew EXACTLY which patient I was referring to in a story without mentioning their name. 2. Realizing the blog had gone international when I got linkedin.com requests to connect from all over the world. 3. Having people tell me they love my website and content.
Amazing, right? Be sure to connect with Celia by visiting her website.
Alright moms (and dads) -- we've got a treat for you today!
When you got engaged, married, had a baby, and/or hit any major life milestones, you probably hired a professional photographer to document the big moment, right?
If you are like me, you may have wondered what it takes to become a photographer (aside from gobs of talent and patience, of course) and whether or not it is a lucrative work-from-home position... well, today we are getting all of our questions answered, thanks to the amazing Sharon Holck!
Sharon is a wife, mommy to a darling little girl, and photographer who lives in Hawaii (#goals), loves Fixer Upper (a girl after my own heart), and can always be found in a pair of mismatched socks :) She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute in New York and is THE person to go to for not only gorgeous photos, but also honest answers to all things business related.
Sharon, please tell us a little bit about yourself: we know that you are an extremely talented photographer and busy mommy, but what else do you do in terms of either work or hobbies?
A little less than a year ago, I decided that it was time to get myself into better shape. I joined a local Stroller Strides group to get a chance to socialize with other moms as well as letting my daughter Riley play with kids her age. I know I'm not alone in saying staying at home can get isolating so this has really helped with me personally. We spend usually almost two hours with this group a few times week. I feel like I have this happy medium between stay at home and working mom because I work 3 nights a week at a restaurant being a photo host. They're short shifts that allow me to really only miss 3 of my daughters awake hours while still bringing in that little bit of extra money for bills or for building my photography business.
Have you always been in a creative line of work or is photography the first?
I have always been a creative person. I remember when I was little I was obsessed with making my own books. I would draw like as many zoo or water animals as I could and write little stories to go with my pictures. I also loved painting and drawing. I thought photography kind of came later but I was going through some old pictures and found that I've been kind of playing with cameras since I was maybe 7.
What got you into photography? Have you always had a knack for or interest in it?
My brother actually started me on my photography path. We are 10 years apart and so he was a big role model in my life. I wanted to be just like him. He always carried a camera around and when I was about 13 I told my parents I wanted a camera just like he does and they bought me this dinky little digital camera. I took a lot of pictures of animals and plants and my brother would always give me little lessons or projects for me to try and do. Over time, I started getting a lot of compliments from my family that my pictures were good but I had no idea I could make a living off of it. It was just a hobby. In college, I planned to go to veterinary school but I didn't get in. I didn't know what else to do so I took a photography class along side my other classes and fell in deep. I decided, this is what I wanted to do.
What inspired you to start Sharon Holck Photography? Can you share with us what it takes to start your own photography business?
When I actually started, my dream was to be a landscape and travel photographer for National Geographic. I kind of had this idea that I would shoot portraits for money but inspire to one day work and travel for them. That really changed though once I had my daughter. She was a complete surprise and honestly really scared me, but the idea of photographing her really got me through those first weeks and really helped my connection with her. I changed my focus completely to kid and family photography but my why was still missing. I knew I needed to figure out why my passion for photographing families was so strong in order to make me as a photographer stand out. It wasn't until one day at my restaurant job that I came across a man who I photographed a picture of him and his grandson. He loved the picture and wanted it but his wife didn't want to buy it. I couldn't bear to let him leave without it and printed him a small version of it before he left. I returned to my station knowing one day that little boy is just going to love that picture of him and his grandpa. I thought about my mom who passed away when I was a teenager and how I cherish every picture I have of me and her together and it all clicked. I photograph because I want to create a treasure that will only get sweeter as time goes on for every family.
There is obviously a lot more to being a photographer than just pointing the camera and clicking, so can you share what the process looks like and how much time you devote to most clients?
I think what it takes to start your own photography business is really knowing your why and your goals. It is one thing to love photography because trust me, I stayed there for years. Even when I already knew I wanted to be a photographer, my work still seemed flat until I figured out what drives me. You really need to take time to think about what makes you tick, what makes you special enough to make people want to hire you. You can take good pictures, but if you aren't passionate about the work you are doing, there will be always someone better they could work with.
I'll admit, that I am still in the beginnings of my photography business. So there has been a lot of testing the waters on my exact client experience. So far, I try to first bring all my clients through a small set of questions designed for me to get to know them, searching for at least something in common with them. We talk about locations, reasons for the session, and all that good stuff. While my packages all come with a time limit, I don't actually set a timer for these. My goal in the end is to create the best gallery of pictures possible for my clients. If I can get that done in 20 mins, that's cool. If it takes me an hour and a half then that is awesome too. After that I quickly edit 3-5 pictures as a sneak peek to deliver to them within 24 hours of their session and then depending on how much my daughter naps and sleeps, will depend on how fast I get through their editing. I give myself a 2 week turnaround but most times I'm done in a few days which equals probably between 10-15 hours of editing per job.
How do you market yourself and your business? Is there a certain platform (your website, FB, Instagram, etc.) that you would recommend to other mom bosses?
For the longest time I mostly used a facebook page. My business has had a lot of false starts so the page never did really well. I am really a little over a year of hardcore working on my business every single day to start getting it somewhere. I have been working really hard on my instagram and figuring out how to use instagram stories for people to get to know me. My brother and I are currently working on a full rebrand for my business and will be launching a new website hopefully in the next month or so through Showit.co.
Lastly, I started a blog a little under a year ago and since publishing it and keeping up with it, I have noticed a real build in my client base. I try to keep it pretty casual. On Monday's I try to focus more on mommy life going over what we've been up to as a family, or sharing tips, funny stories and all that jazz. And then on Thursdays I post photography related posts that deal with my photo sessions or thoughts on photography.
And now for my favorite question: Do you have a favorite work memory that you can share (whether it be sweet, funny, etc.)?
I am totally like the most clumsy and ditzy photographer ever I swear. I think in front of almost all my clients I either will have a time where I am about to start photographing and I forget the lens cap is on or I just don't watch where I'm stepping and trip or fall into something. It's a miracle I haven't broken any bones or equipment yet. But perhaps one of my most recent fun photo memories was I recently did an even through Stroller Strides where moms could donate toys to a children's hospital and I would take some Valentine's Day pictures. I had 12 back to back photography sessions in my home cause we got rained out. I had set up a studio in our dining room and set up a play room so kids could play and wait. My daughter (she's 2) has been photographed so much she is becoming my little mini me and it cracks me up. As families would walk in, she would greet the kids and tell them to come. She would bring the to the back drop and tell them where to sit and then to look at me and say "cheese!" Which I don't even know where she got that from cause I don't even tell her to say cheese but just to smile or look at me. At one point, I'm photographing a family and she comes and grabs her play camera and sits next to me and starts calling them and taking her own pictures. I really wish someone would have snapped a picture of it cause it was so darn cute! If any kids were a little scared she would even jump into the photos and hold their hands or pat their back and try to make them see it was okay. I just love how much of a little helper she is becoming and I wonder if one day we might become a family business.